The last East African sirenians: conservation of dugongs in Bazaruto Archipelago

Almeida Guissamulo

Dugongs are Critically Endangered throughout most of the western Indian Ocean. In East Africa, the last viable population inhabits Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique, but its survival is threatened by human-caused mortality and habitat degradation. This project aims to develop a scientific framework for dugong conservation in Bazaruto that could become part of long-term management planning for the archipelago. Quantitative survey techniques will be applied to assess dugong numbers, distribution, seasonal dynamics and habitat relationships. Concurrently, a community-based conservation education program will promote dugongs as a ‘flagship species’ for coastal conservation that could form a focal point for broader conservation initiatives.